How could we have been so wrong about the Bonnies?

We screwed up. Certainly, we’re not alone.

We didn’t give coach Mark Schmidt and his players enough credit. We sold them woefully short.

When we released our staff predictions on November 2, not one of us had the Bonnies winning more than 19 games. Only one of us, staff photographer Michaela, thought the Bonnies would win double figures games in the Atlantic 10.

Staff Non-Conference Conference Overall
Ian 8-3 8-10 16-13
Vinny 8-3 8-10 16-13
Shane 7-4 9-9 16-13
Mike 8-3 9-9 17-12
Jon 7-4 8-10 15-14
Bradley 9-2 9-9 18-11
Michaela 6-5 12-6 19-10
Cody 8-3 9-9 17-12

We figured the Bonnies were set on a path for a “typical Mark Schmidt season.” The NIT was the best-case scenario, though seemingly a longshot.

We weren’t the only ones. A poll asking “Would you sign up for 17 wins today?” was incuded in the post. Of the 84 responses, 46 were yes.

We were wrong. So were some of you.

The Bonnies capped their regular season at 22-7, 14-4 in the Atlantic 10 with a 76-67 victory at Saint Louis last night. They are co-champions of the A-10. They are a virtual lock for a spot in the NCAA tournament.

How could we be so off? Here’s how:

Dynamic guard play

Marcus Posley and Jay Adams make up the best backcourt in the A-10, and one of the best in the country. With all due respect to the great Dion Wright, the Bonnies are in the NCAA tourney because of their guards.

In a lot of ways, this season was no different than many under Schmidt. The Bonnies played many nail-biting games in the A-10. In past years, they won half or less than half of those games decided by a possession or two.

This year was different because Posley and Adams made game-winning plays, didn’t make mistakes and hit their free throws when games were on the line. With Posley and Adams on the floor the game was always in good hands. The Bonnies didn’t have that luxury in past years.

Player development

This is a Mark Schmidt staple, and it was more evident this year than ever.

Adams, Posley, Wright, Denzel Gregg, Idris Taqqee, and Jordan Tyson greatly improved on their numbers from a year ago. Wright should win A-10 Most Improved Player this year based on his career progression.

Player development allowed the Bonnies to overcome depth and injury problems. Taqqee’s steady play was vital after Courtney Stockard – an expected starter – was lost for the year. Taqqee made winning plays that didn’t end up in the boxscore.

Tyson came back strong after missing the first eight games of the season. He was unexceptional, but his presence was key as Derrick Woods endured the usual freshman growing pains.


This is where the Bonnies figured to struggle most. If anything, this would be their downfall. Though the frontcourt is the team’s most glaring weakness, Woods and Tyson have done enough to help the Bonnies win.

Woods played well during the non-conference schedule and has had his moments during A-10 play. Tyson, meanwhile, leads the Bonnies in blocked shots, and has been a better rebounder than Woods.

The Bonnies have also been able to get by with Wright and Gregg in the frontcourt. The way these last couple weeks have been trending, we would expect to see more of Wright and Gregg and less of Tyson and Woods in the A-10 tourney and beyond.

Big 3 endurance

Posley, Adams and Wright are all among the leaders in minutes played per game in the A-10. They have held up exceptionally well, though Posley had a rough couple weeks of dealing with a sore hip.

The addition of Nelson Kaputo has allowed Schmidt to give Posley and Adams a few minutes on the bench each game – though Kaputo has struggled lately and isn’t playing as much.

Road warriors

The scheduling gods didn’t do the Bonnies any favors with games at Dayton, VCU and Saint Joseph’s. The Bonnies didn’t care. They won two of those games.

In all, the Bonnies won six conference road games. That has to be a program record. They also won their first ever road game over a ranked opponent (Dayton).

We shouldn’t have been surprised. Schmidt’s teams have traditionally played well in conference road games.

Categories: Editorial

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